June 2022 Research Journal Roundup

Water flows through industrial, agricultural, environmental, medical, and cultural systems around the world, touching every aspect of lives in cities and rural communities. Learn about our researchers’ contributions to research articles published in June 2022.

IWMI contributions to research in June 2022

By Clara Colton Symmes, Princeton in Asia Fellow, IWMI

Water flows through industrial, agricultural, environmental, medical, and cultural systems around the world, touching every aspect of lives in cities and rural communities. To better understand our relationship with water, how we can use it, how we impact it, and how the availability of this vital resource is changing, IWMI researchers engage in diverse research projects with the aim of ensuring water security for all. Continue reading below to learn about our researchers’ contributions to research articles published in June 2022.

A woman selling rice in Bama, Burkina Faso. Photo: Manon Koningstein / IWMI
A woman selling rice in Bama, Burkina Faso. Photo: Manon Koningstein / IWMI

Opportunities to improve eco-agriculture through transboundary governance in transfrontier conservation areas

Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) represent opportunities for integrated landscape management and conservation that extend beyond national boundaries. As such, they require the collaboration of communities and governments in neighboring countries to help advance sustainable food production, support health and livelihoods, and strengthen environmental protections. IWMI’s Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi recently contributed to a study published in Diversity that assessed how existing legal and governance frameworks impact the implementation of the Lubombo TFCA that spans Mozambique, Eswatini, and South Africa. Through a document review, stakeholder interviews, and focus group discussions, researchers determined that differing governmental approaches to eco-agriculture management stunt the potential benefits of the TFCA, and that a more integrated approach to transboundary cooperation and collaboration is necessary.

Read more here.

Food flows and the roles of cities in West African food distribution networks

Rapid urbanization across West Africa is driving a transformation of food systems and intensifying demand for more diverse types of food in the region’s cities. In a study published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, IWMI’s Pay Drechsel collaborated with a group of researchers aiming to broaden the perspective of how cities contribute to food distribution, and paint a nuanced picture of city residents as more than just consumers of crops grown in rural areas. By examining data on food flows in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Bamako (Mali), Tamale (Ghana), and Bamenda (Cameroon), the study’s authors were able to demonstrate the unique methods through which these cities both aggregate and disaggregate food, including through informal and formal market networks.

Read more here.

Modeling current and future groundwater demands in the White Volta River Basin of Ghana under climate change and socio-economic scenarios

Regions facing the impact of intensifying droughts due to climate change have become more reliant on groundwater. However, climate change is beginning to threaten this resource as well. IWMI’s Komlavi Akpoti collaborated on a study published in Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies that demonstrates the link between climate change, socio-economic growth, and the availability of groundwater in the White Volta River Basin in Ghana. Researchers used the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model to analyze demands for groundwater from 2015 to 2070 and found that nearly half of the basin’s sub-catchments will experience water scarcity in all future scenarios. Regions with greater socioeconomic growth and increasing population density will experience an intensifying disparity between groundwater supply and demand.

Read more here.

Water quality modelling framework for evaluating antibiotic resistance in aquatic environments

Antibiotics have been increasingly used agriculture, aquaculture, and wastewater treatment in recent decades, leading to growing concerns about the development of antibiotic resistance. Aquatic environments including rivers, wetlands, and lakes contribute to the development and spread of antibiotic resistance due to the runoff water, including antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes. In a study published in Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters, IWMI’s Mahesh Jampani, Simon Langan, and Javier Mateo-Sagasta collaborated with a group of researchers to develop a water quality modeling framework to evaluate antibiotic resistance at the watershed level. By identifying runoff sources, modeling the transport of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and quantifying the risks, the authors aim to contribute to achieving U.N. Sustainable Development Goals 3 (good health and well-being) and 6 (clean water and sanitation).

Read more here.

Remote sensing assessment of available green water to increase crop production in seasonal floodplain wetlands of Sub-Saharan Africa

Rising demand for food due to population growth in recent years has been taking place against a backdrop of emerging water shortages and growing concern for wetland conservation in the seasonal floodplains of sub-Saharan Africa. Rather than continue the expansion of croplands into vulnerable and vital wetland ecosystems, authors of a recent report published in Agricultural Water Management advocate for a more expanded use of water supply in active cropland areas. The researchers, including IWMI’s Lisa-Maria Rebelo, analyzed how farmers could use water that exists naturally in the root zone — such as runoff from precipitation, natural drainage, and floodwater — to cultivate short-cycle crops beyond the rice growing period. They found a high potential for vegetable, maize, green manure, and legumes cultivation and concluded that adaptable use of these water resources could improve and strengthen rainfed agriculture systems in floodplain regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more here.

Spatiotemporal analysis of drought and rainfall in Pakistan via Standardized Precipitation Index: Homogeneous regions, trend, wavelet, and influence of El Nino-southern oscillation

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the periodic warming and cooling of wind and sea surface temperature over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. The impacts of its phases affect climate and weather patterns across the planet. IWMI’s Shahid Iqbal recently contributed to a study focusing on how El Nino events (the warming phase of the ENSO) relate to drought in Pakistan. The article, published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology, uses monthly rainfall data from 44 weather stations across Pakistan from 1980-2019 and determines that drought severity is intensified during El Nino events — a challenge that now demands the attention of the country’s water and land managers as well as Pakistan’s agricultural sector.

Read more here.

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